The ANZAC Day is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand to honor those who lost their lives in the Gallipoli expedition during World War 1. ANZAC is the acronym for Australia and New Zealand.
The two countries were a part of the allied forces and had sent their soldiers to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula and then ultimately Constantinople the capital of the Turkish Ottoman Empire; an ally of the Germans.
The forces landed on Gallipoli on 25th April; the allies’ plan which seemed simple backfired and the ANZAC forces faced stiff resistance from the Turks.
Eight months later the expedition was called off and the forces were evacuated. There was a heavy loss of life on both sides. An estimate of 8,000 Australian soldiers and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers were killed.
Although the expedition failed miserably, it ignited a sense of pride among the two nations and the whole world appreciated their bravery, commitment and loyalty. In 1916, 25th April was officially recognized as the ANZAC Day.
In Australia, commemorative services are held at dawn and are mostly attended by war veterans and the family members of the soldiers. Later in the day, a ceremony takes place at the Australian War Memorial which is attended by the Prime Minister and other government dignitaries.
Main features of the memorial services are lying of wreath, prayers, a recitation, a few minutes silence. The service usually ends with Reveille, the bugler’s call to wake up and the national anthem.
In New Zealand Dawn Parades and other memorial services in which the New Zealand Defence Forces, New Zealand Police, Scouting New Zealand and Girl guiding New Zealand and other uniformed service men participate. Red paper poppies are distributed and worn as a symbol of remembrance.